Arsenal can deal Chelsea transfer blow if they reignite £25m Youri Tielemans interest

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Arsenal could create a serious headache for London rivals Chelsea if they revisit long-standing interest in Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans before the transfer deadline. The Belgian midfielder is available at a cut-price fee of £25million because of his contract situation.

Express Sport understands central midfield is still an area of priority for the Gunners before the transfer window closes on September 1. They have signed Fabio Vieira and Oleksandr Zinchenko this summer who can both play in advanced midfield roles.

But Mikel Arteta it seems would also like a player capable of playing a deeper role to rival the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. Tielemans still has admirers at Arsenal, who also looked at Ruben Neves from Wolves 12 months ago.

The Leicester midfielder has long been sold on a move to the Emirates even though there is no Champions League football on offer at the club at present. Should Arsenal offer a presentable bid, Tielemans – who has almost joined the north London club twice previously – would be ready to join.

It is thought Leicester might accept a fee as low as £25m for the vastly-experienced ball-playing 25-year-old. But were Arsenal to agree a deal for the Belgium international, it might cause issues for Chelsea.

The Blues are eager to snatch the £80m-rated Wesley Fofana from Leicester. The Foxes have put a huge price on the 21-year-old Frenchman, who it appears is keen to move to Stamford Bridge.

Yet Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has declared Leicester will not be “exploited” this summer. That’s despite the fact they need to sell to buy. The Guardian ‘expect’ Arsenal to make a move for Tielemans, amid interest in Fofana from Chelsea and the £60m James Maddison from Newcastle.

Rodgers said: “We don’t want to be losing our best players. You don’t want to lose your best players and then not be able to bring any in. That doesn’t stack up.” Though he has since added on funding signings: “It would have to be about trimming the squad or selling your assets. That’s something that the club are looking closely at.”

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It’s unclear how much business Rodgers intends to do this summer but given how late in the window it is, it seems he is not demanding a raft of new players. As a result, the £25m departure of Tielemans could possibly present enough funds to make an addition or two.

And while he would have far more money to spend were Maddison or Fofana to go, Rodgers seems to have suggested he doesn’t want to lose too many key players in one go. Both Maddison and Fofana have at least two years on their contracts while Tielemans’ current deal expires in 2023, making him the prime candidate to go.

Arsenal buying the Belgian then could potentially bring down the shutters at the King Power Stadium, blocking a move for Fofana. If it did, that would be another blow to Chelsea who have already missed out on other top centre-half targets like Matthijs de Ligt and Jules Kounde.

A deal makes a tonne of sense for Arsenal. It satisfies their need for another high-quality midfielder at a low price but it also might create another problem for Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel who is already frustrated with his team’s summer window.

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